It’s Thanksgiving week in the United States, and we all know what that means.
Yes, yes, lots of turkey and family gatherings, and maybe some board games with said family (except Uncle Joe, who always seems to cheat).
But I’m not talking about the holiday itself.
I’m talking about Black Friday sales.
All of the online game retailers have started their Black Friday sales already (because nothing says Black Friday like a full week of deals!).
If you subscribe to the Boardgame Geek “Hot Deals” forum, you’re inundated with all of the cool sales stuff, along with those who have to post “Geez, nothing good in this sale. I’m glad I was able to save money. And why does it have to start at 2:00 am?”
One comment made in a thread the other day made me stop and think, though.
And you don’t like it when I stop and think (actually, I hope you do because that means you’ve read an interesting blog post).
Is “free shipping” worth it in all cases?
(Scroll down to the bolded question below if you are feeling “TLDR”)
I’m not a huge fan of auction games. I’m just not great at figuring out value for money and deciding when to stop bidding on something.
Probably why I don’t do the family finances.
For some reason, though, the first time I played Modern Art, I was enthralled with the game.
I still sucked at it, but was enthralled.
Modern Art is a game designed by Reiner Knizia, originally published in 1992, though I played the new edition of the game published by CMON Limited in 2017.
The game has artwork by Carole Carrion, Manuel Carvalho, Chen Cheng-po, Mike Doyle, Pete Fenlon, Paul Laane, Ramon Martins, Daniel Melim, Rafael Silveira, Sigrid Thaler, and Zeilbeck & Natzeck Design Company.
I’m a Star Trek fan from way back and have been reading the novels based on the various series and movies since I was a kid.
In 2016, Star Trek celebrated its 50th anniversary, with the series first airing in 1966. The iconic images of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest of the cast were something I grew up with. I didn’t see it first-hand, not having been born yet, but I watched it in syndication from an early age and have been a fan since 1981.
To celebrate the anniversary, Pocket Books and its Star Trek authors published a series of books called “Legacies.” The first book in the series, by Greg Cox, is called Captain to Captain.
Cox has always been a dependable Trek writer, not producing anything flashy but giving readers a solid plot, good characterization of the regulars, and some interesting stories.
Designed by Paul Peterson, with artwork by Dave Allsop, Bruno Balixa, Conceptopolis, and Francisco Rico Torres, this 2012 game lets you “smash up” (Ha! I see what you did there) two classic factions into a deck of cards that you will use to stomp your opponents.
I’ve read a bunch of R.A. Salvatore’s “Drizzt Do’Urden” books set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting.
I think I’ve read 40, but there are probably 40 more (editor’s note: That’s probably an exaggeration) and I’ve always enjoyed the world-building Salvatore has done with the series, almost even more than the characters.
Drizzt is a Drow (Dark Elf), a former denizen of the underworld that’s fittingly called “The Underdark.” He’s an outcast from Drow society because it is pretty much a cesspool of evil scheming and betrayal and they worship the evil spider-goddess Lolth.
Since Drizzt has his own game, why not play a game where you get to be a conniving betrayer who’s looking out for your family’s interest and trying to bring down the other noble houses among the Drow?
Now you can, with Tyrants of the Underdark (2016), the deck-building area control game designed by Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson, Andrew Veen with art by apparently nobody (I think it just spontaneously appeared on the cards in some miraculous event that should probably be canonized) and published by Gale Force 9 and Wizards of the Coast.
(Literally, the art credit on Boardgame Geek is “N/A”)
For my 100th post here on Dude, Take Your Turn, I wanted to do something a little different than what I’ve done previously. Tackle a bigger subject.
As I was thinking about what that might be, a couple of things happened.
First, as some of you may know, I’m a member (and now Patreon Supporter!) of the Stately Play web site, one of the best online communities and news sites for mobile and computer games (especially board game adaptations).
In one of the forums discussing the release of Afghanistan ’11 (a “sequel” of sorts to Vietnam ’65 by Slitherine), a member said the following:
“I can’t begin to imagine why someone would release a game like this. 1400 civilians were killed in the year that this game starts.
The airstrikes they talk about in the game trailer often hit civilian targets and 2011 also sees an increase in the use of suicide bombers and IEDs.
Its an absolute tragedy of a conflict and someone at Slitherine thought it would make a “fun” game? WTF is the matter with them?”
This is a game about the war for Algerian independence from France and the insurgency that arose during the war. Terrorism is a legitimate tactic in the game.
In the review, Grant says the following:
“I love the use of Terror when playing as the FLN as it truly is the only real tool that you have to affect the Government and ultimately win the war. I say that I love using the Terror Ops but I really cringe each time I have to use them as it feels wrong, both morally and ethically, but this is one of the great design elements of the game. Making you think before you act. A lot of times in regular hex and counter wargames, I usually don’t think anything about bombing civilian centers or cities, as there really is no negative effects upon the psyche for doing so. But in Colonial Twilight, the game is so visceral and emotionally evocative, that I actually feel that I have to tread lightly when I am bombing cities as I think about the consequences of my actions through collateral damage.”
Both of these came in quick succession for me, and it made me realize that it would make a great topic for a 100th post.
Should we be playing at war?
(I’m not saying Grant’s statement is against playing at war, as obviously that would be misconstruing it since he is a wargamer. It just made the topic come to my mind)